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Service your own vehicle

Servicing for Dummies TLC 79

This should enable most owners to do it themselves or get any trustworthy home mechanic to do it.

Your 70 series is one of the simplest vehicles on the market. (Exclude the new V8 models) Even so there is more to servicing than some of us realise.

Here are the important points. It will most probably have slight variations across different models. (Oil filter and airfilters will be different.) Mine is a 2006 EFI.

I do a full service every 10 000 km

The 4,2 diesel models need to be serviced every 7500 km

Toyota did some good things that helps our vehicles in Africa.

The air cleaner system actually has two cyclones on the inlet duct, both with an extractor to catch debris before it gets to the filter. It is also meant to catch a limited amount of water or moisture. These block up with dust and then when the moisture comes along it becomes like glue. When one services the vehicle these should also get some attention.

The main ‘bucket’ sits right below the main housing, see below.

Two over centre clamps and it is off.

Notice the muck sticking to the felt seal. Make sure that you remove all of it so it can seal properly when you put it back.

Take note of the little rubber non return at the bottom.(Below) Push it down to ensure that it does not stick. The water is supposed to run out here.

The smaller one sits underneath the pipe shown below. Just pry it off.

It looks like this when dirty. Clean it out and press it on the sides as shown to make sure it does not stick. Again water is supposed to run out this slit.

When you are done with the air cleaner make sure this sensor goes back in it’s place. Toyota made the wire too short and even the agents overlook putting it back regularly.

If you loosened any clamps. Recheck that you have tightened them again. This is critical as dust can leak in here and damage your engine.

Check the radiator water. This is not one of the fancy modern systems and does need topping up regularly.

Very Important: check the level in the radiator and the plastic bottle when it is cold. If the radiator has a leak it will go empty while the plastic bottle may still show full

Check the fan belts. You should not be able to press it down more than 10mm to 15mm in the top span. Measure this against the other one.

The belts below are industrial and freely available. The important thing is to buy a matched set. The price is less than a tenth of the original and it lasts as long. When you loose one replace both as it is a matched set. See the numbers below. The last ones are the batch number, they must be the same. (172 In this case)

Changing the oil and filter is pretty straight forward I think.

A filter becomes better as it gets dirty. The air filter until it starts to increase your petrol consumption and the oil filter until it bursts or bypass which is disastrous. The Toyota air filter actually describes on the filter how you wash it in clean water which may be handy in remote Africa. Below is the correct air aftermarket filter. (This is correct for the 4,5 EFI only) Replace when dirty. Donaldson has a nifty device one can braze into the pipe between the filter and the engine, it tells you when the filter is dirty.

This is the correct oil filter, replace it with every oil change. (This is correct for the 4,5 EFI only)

This is a good oil to use for all models, petrol and diesel.

Buy 2 x 5 liter as these engines need about 8 liters of oil. Fill a little bit at a time until the correct level is reached.

Even though batteries are supposed to be sealed, most of them have plugs under the sticker. When the battery gets close to two years start checking the water level. This can prolong battery life substantially.

I replaced my standard battery with a 105 Ah, the same as my auxiliary batteries. Even though conventional 'wisdom' says you should'nt it lasted 8 years.

The Toyota spec says the universals must be greased every 10 000 km and within 24 hours after being submerged. Because my vehicle is leading a charmed life in and around the city I personally find this a bit excessive. I grease the main shaft with every service and both before and after each trip. Note that each shaft has three nipples. Clean the tip before connecting to prevent dirt from being forced into the joint as this can destroy it. You pump until the grease starts coming out the seal. (See below)

Check tyre pressure and do not forget the spare. The rear tyre pressures should be varied with the load as needed.

More about tyre pressures in a different article.

Spark plugs are a bit of a challenge on these engines. They are difficult to remove. They need very little attention and should last 100 000 km or more. They need attention when starting becomes difficult when cold or may be the cause of a missfire. See below a typical tell tale of moisture in the well.

Check the front disc pad thickness. Replace when it gets to about 1mm.

The 4,5 EFI has a timing chain and does not need regular replacement..

The 4,2 diesel has a timing belt and needs replacement every 100 and something thousand km. Pretty simple procedure.

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